Finding a domain name is easier if you’re using an extension like .co instead of .com. But what does a .co domain extension mean? Does it impact SEO or other aspects of online discoverability? This guide to .com vs .co will answer all of your questions about these extensions.
Let’s get started!
📚 Table of contents:
.com vs .co: at a glance
.com and .co are both domain extensions, also referred to as top-level domains (TLDs). Domain extensions were initially created to help categorize websites, with options like .org and .biz intended to tell you something specific about a website’s purpose.
The .com TLD is derived from the word commercial and is meant to signify that a website is commercial in nature, but it’s used for all kinds of websites.
The .com extension is the most popular TLD, with over 244 million websites using it . That’s 37% of all websites in existence!
The .co TLD started as an extension for Colombian websites, which means it technically started as a country-specific extension.
However, this association has faded over time as the ownership of the TLD has changed hands several times and restrictions have been lifted, allowing anyone to create a .co domain.
The .co domain extension also isn’t the only example of a country-specific domain extension achieving more global use. For example, the .io domain extension is very popular with tech companies, despite technically being a country-specific domain extension for the British Indian Ocean Territory.
.com pros and cons
🔎 Now, let’s look at the pros and cons of using the more popular .com domain extension.
Pros of using .com 👍
The main advantage of using the .com TLD is that it’s the most familiar option for most internet users. In fact, it’s so popular that if someone can’t remember your domain extension, they’ll probably use .com by default.
Another reason to stick with a .com domain name is trust. Spammers and other untrustworthy users will often use a less common TLD, so people are less likely to click on these sites, especially if they think you might be impersonating another company with the same domain but a .com extension.
Emails from certain high-spam TLDs like .xyz and .club might also be blocked to prevent spam, which can hurt your ability to run email marketing campaigns.
For both of these reasons, .com domains are highly sought after. This means that they also tend to have higher resale value, which is an important consideration if you hope to sell your online business down the line.
Cons of using .com 👎
The only disadvantage of using .com is the number of these domain names that are already taken.
There are not only millions of websites using this domain extension but also millions of parked domains purchased by domain flippers for the express purpose of reselling.
This can make it difficult to find a .com domain that is both appropriate to your brand and currently available.
.co pros and cons
💡 Next, let’s cover the same pros and cons for the .co domain extension.
Pros of using .co 👍
The biggest advantage of using the .co domain extension is availability. While it’s hard to find the exact number of websites currently using the .co TLD, you can rest assured that there are a lot fewer than 233.5 million.
Domains at this TLD are also less likely to be parked for resale. This makes it much easier to find a .co domain that suits your business than it is to find a suitable .com domain.
Of course, there’s high availability for a lot of other non-.com domain extensions, too. Some, like .inc, have only been used for a few thousand websites .
But .co is the most trusted and most memorable alternative TLD, according to a survey from GrowthBadger . This means that if you can’t use the .com extension and you still want your website to be trusted, .co is your best bet (at least according to this survey sample).
The final reason why .co is an excellent TLD is that it’s short. This makes it easier to type, easier to see in its entirety on a mobile device, and of course easier to remember.
It may also help give your website the impression of being new and different from the established web, increasing your site’s appeal to younger generations.
Cons of using .co 👎
.co may be more memorable than other non-.com TLDs, but it’s still not as memorable as the original .com. It also only changes one letter, so many people might type .com out of habit even if they did know to type .co.
The other big drawback of the .co extension is cost. While a .com domain will typically cost $12 to $15 per year from most top domain registrars, .co domains will often cost $25 to $28 per year.
This is still a fairly low annual cost for most businesses, but if you’re on a shoestring budget that $13 dollar difference might well break the bank.
Alternatives to .com and .co
This article is about .com vs .co, but those are far from the only TLDs available. There are, in fact, hundreds of TLDs to choose from.
There are two categories of TLD you might want to consider:
- Local. If your website is heavily targeted at people in a specific region, consider using that region’s unique TLD. These are extensions like .ca, .fr, and .eu. Note that many of these extensions have special rules around who can use them and may require proof that you/your business is in the region you want to use the extension for.
- Specialty. These are TLDs that tell people something about your website/business. For example, .org is usually used for government and nonprofit organizations. Other specialty TLDs include .biz, .tech, and .io.
You may also want to consider buying your domain with multiple extensions so that others can’t impersonate your site.
.com vs .co FAQ
To finish out our .com vs .co domain comparison, let’s run over a few common questions you might have…
According to Google itself , using a new domain extension won’t damage your search engine rankings. This means that the .com and .co TLDs have an equal chance of getting you to the front page of Google.
.co is technically still the domain extension for Colombia, but it’s currently available for international use. In fact, Google’s Colombia site and many other Colombian sites use .com.co instead of just the regular .co. If you’re trying to create a site specifically targeted at Colombians, consider using .com.co instead of the regular .co TLD.
The premium pricing of .co is meant to dissuade spammers and scammers from using this extension. The hope is that this will also dissuade domain squatters from purchasing thousands of .co domains at once and artificially driving up competition for these domains.
Choosing a domain is one of the most important things you’ll do when you’re creating a website, so it’s important to take several factors into consideration:
– What your website is about
– What (if any) products or services you’ll sell on your website
– Who your audience is
– What emotions you want them to associate with your brand
– What keywords you can use to create an SEO-optimized domain name
You may also want to seek feedback from friends and colleagues to find out if the name you’re considering is actually worthwhile.
.com vs .co: what domain should you use?
Now that we’ve explored all of the important details of the .co vs .com debate, it’s time to pick your domain extension. But what is the best option for your business?
👉 Well, it depends:
Which TLD are you going to use: .com or .co? Let us know in the comments!